Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
Children can make or break parents. A son loving wisdom brings great joy to his parents. A foolish son befriending whores grieves their hearts, as they watch his ruinous lifestyle.
This proverb should demand your close attention. There is much more here than just an observation by Solomon. There is a lesson and warning for both parents and children.
Parents should fear this painful disappointment and great waste of their lives. They should soberly and faithfully fulfill their duties to commit their children to the Lord, pray for their children, exemplify godly living, and never relax Bible methods to train them.
Children should consider the terror not stated in this proverb. From the rest of Solomon’s proverbs and the rest of the Bible, God clearly warns of horrible destruction coming to children that grieve their parents (Pr 20:20; 30:11,17; Deut 27:16; Eph 6:2-3; I Tim 5:8).
The warning that children affect parents – bringing them joy or sorrow – has been repeated in other proverbs (Pr 10:1; 15:20; 17:21,25; 19:13; 23:15-28; 27:11; 28:7). But there are details given in this proverb that expand the lesson for your learning.
As with many of the proverbs, there are two clauses that should be compared and contrasted, carefully and completely, in all their details. A hasty reading without due consideration will cost you the full lesson and warning that God gave Solomon.
A son pleasing his father loves wisdom, is sexually pure, and financially prudent. These three things are intended, though two are unstated, by reading the second clause. A son that hates wisdom, associates with whores, and is a spendthrift grieves his father, where hating wisdom and grieving his father is understood by reading the first clause.
A son that loves wisdom is a prince. Loving wisdom is as high as the bar can go – it proves a noble son and brings God’s favor in his life (Pr 8:17,21; Eccl 12:1). Wisdom is the principal thing, and it is a good man’s chief goal (Pr 4:7; 16:16; Eccl 7:12; 9:16-18). If a father wonders about his son’s heart, he only needs to measure his love of wisdom.
What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment, including the knowledge that eternal things of heaven far outstrip the temporal things of this life. What is the love of wisdom? It is the aggressive zeal to sacrifice things of this life so esteemed by others in order to obtain the better things of the next life despised by others (Pr 18:1; Heb 11:24-26).
What is wisdom? It is an independent, active, zealous fear of God (Pr 1:7; 9:10; 23:17). It is to hate evil (Pr 8:13; 16:6; Ps 97:10; 119:128). It is to study God’s word (Ps 19:7-11; Ps 1:1; 119:11; II Tim 2:15). It is the love of Christ, the Man of wisdom (II Cor 5:14-17; Col 2:3). It is to hate foolish and evil men (Pr 13:20; 29:27; Ps 15:4; 101:3; I Cor 15:33).
A young man’s wisdom will result in a disciplined and temperate approach to sex and money. He will be a virgin when he marries; he will marry only in the Lord; he will wait for his father’s approval; he will be faithful to one wife for life. He hates foolish and whorish women, and he avoids them with great care (Pr 2:16-19; 5:8-13; 6:20-26; 7:1-5).
He will work hard, give liberally, save frugally, avoid debt, and build his estate with a prudent eye to the future. Wisdom includes financial understanding, though by itself it proves nothing beyond ants and squirrels. But coupled with the fear of the Lord, strong men retain riches (Pr 11:16). He climbs professionally by godly methods (Pr 22:11,29).
Parents rejoice at such a life, knowing God is glorified, the kingdom of heaven served, and their family tree in good hands. They rejoice in heart; they praise him; they share their joy. They live confidently with his life defending them (Pr 27:11; Ps 127:5). They thankfully approach their departure from this life, knowing they have left a godly legacy.
On the other hand are parents stricken with grief and guilt – a calamity of pain and shame for them (Pr 17:25; 19:13; 29:15,17). The fool they created and formed hates wisdom, loves folly, rebels against authority, befriends whores and whoremongers, and wastes his living and theirs. He is a shame to them and a stench to others. He breaks their hearts.
This young man rejects instruction and scorns those that try. He lasciviously approaches life, thinking he can pick his friends, including girlfriends, and live any way he chooses. He does not care what pain or shame he causes his parents, for he cannot think outside his own worthless life. He does not fear God, and he mocks those that do. He is a fool.
This fool proves his ignorance by befriending whores, no matter his IQ, for a wise man would not (Pr 7:7). One sin leads to others, in this case financial trouble, because whores seek a man’s money (Pr 5:10; Luke 15:30). If whores can destroy kings, they will surely destroy this ignorant simpleton (Pr 31:3). He wastes his assets and damns his soul.
Consider Esau. He grieved his parents Isaac and Rebekah by marrying Hittite girls (Gen 26:34-35), so they sent Jacob to their home country to get a real woman that feared God (Gen 28:1-5). On his way there, he promised God 10% of anything God gave him (Gen 28:20-22). But what did foolish and profane Esau do, wanting to please his parents in his perverse way? He married an Ishmaelite (Gen 28:6-9)! Amazing ignorance and folly!
Parents can rank children by wisdom, sexual temperance, and financial discipline, which ought to be of concern to children. They should realize they can easily rise in approval of God and parents by being wise. Child, let nothing hold you back from loving wisdom, from sexual integrity and marital faithfulness, and from financial prudence (Pr 23:15-28).
One Son gave His Father perfect joy – Jesus Christ (Matt 3:7; 12:18; 17:5). He perfectly loved wisdom, sought it, and obeyed it His entire life (Is 11:1-5). He only dealt with harlots to demand repentance, which He did with great success (Matt 21:28-32; Luke 7:36-50). He also demanded financial integrity of friend and foe (Luke 21:1-4; John 2:13-17; 12:1-8). Let Him be your example and ambition of pleasing your Father in heaven.